We assessed the patterning of slow-wave EEG activity during sleep in siblings of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) victims over the first 6 months of life. Twelve hour overnight physiologic recordings were obtained from 25 apparently healthy subsequent siblings of SIDS victims and 25 control infants at 1 week, and 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 months of age. The EEG activity was electronically bandpass filtered, leaving primarily activity ranging from 0.5 to 2.5 Hz (the delta frequency), and the filtered traces were full-wave rectified and integrated over 1 min periods. The recordings were divided into four 3 h segments beginning at sleep onset, and the mean integrated delta activity during quiet sleep was determined for each segment of the night. At 3 and 4 months postnatal age, SIDS siblings displayed increased integrated delta amplitude in the early morning hours relative to control infants. Most SIDS deaths occur in the early morning hours during the 2-4 month age range. We thus speculate that increased delta activity may be indicative of increased arousal thresholds in the early morning, which may contribute to SIDS deaths.